Chapter # 1 Paragraph # 3 Study # 1
March 9, 2014
6 And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost:
7 So that ye were ensamples to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia.
8 For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad; so that we need not to speak any thing.
9 For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God;
10 And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, [even
] Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.
1901 ASV Translation
6 And ye became imitators of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Spirit;
7 so that ye became an ensample to all that believe in Macedonia and in Achaia.
8 For from you hath sounded forth the word of the Lord, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but in every place your faith to God-ward is gone forth; so that we need not to speak anything.
9 For they themselves report concerning us what manner of entering in we had unto you; and how ye turned unto God from idols, to serve a living and true God,
10 and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, [even
] Jesus, who delivereth us from the wrath to come.
- I. You Became Imitators.
- A. Of us.
- 1. Hard on the heels of the comment, "you know what manner of men we were among you", is this next declaration: You (emphatic) became imitators of us.
- a. The word is translated "followers" (AV) as well as "imitators" (ASV). It is the root of our English "mimic".
- 1) In 1 Corinthians 4:16 and 11:1 Paul uses the same term for the same concept: be to me what I am to the Lord in terms of accepting and utilizing "instruction" especially as it relates to being and doing what is appealing to others in self-sacrificial pursuit of the benefit to those others.
- 2) Ephesians 5:1 uses the term to appeal to believers to copy a loving lifestyle as a child mimics his/her father.
- 3) Paul uses this term twice in 1Thessalonians, the second time in regard to "following" the example of the churches of Judea (2:14).
- b. This can only mean that they became the same "manner of men".
- c. That this is so is affirmed immediately in that these "imitators of the apostles" became "an ensample to all that believe..." This can only be the case if the "imitation" was of the "manner of men" that the apostles were. The issue is both character and action as the rest of this paragraph attests.
- 2. This "imitation" concept is fundamentally a character issue as attested by the apostle's own words to the Corinthians that not all have the same gifts.
- a. Clearly some of the Thessalonians took the Word to others in the same manner of behavior as the apostles ("...from you hath sounded forth the word of the Lord..."), but, just as clearly, it takes certain "gifts" to "sound forth the Word" so that those without those gifts have their part to play in less obvious ways.
- b. In our tendency to make "behavior" the base-line criterion for evaluation of others (and, perhaps, even of ourselves), we overlook those whose "behavior" is just as Spirit-driven as those on the more obvious stage, but is obviously less of a "stage presence".
- c. We do need to be very careful, though, that we do not mask our own behavior beneath the "excuse" that "I don't have that/those gift(s)". Character shows up eventually, and this is the critical area of concern for Paul as well as the Thessalonians.
- B. And of the Lord.
- 1. Again, this is an affirmation of the "power" that arose in Thessalonica by the presence and activities of the Holy Spirit.
- 2. The Lord was the "original"; the apostles were the "original imitators" and the Thessalonians became the "imitators of the imitators of the Lord".
- 3. The Spirit of that Lord is the reason the "imitation" had no "degrading" inherently within. Patterns of patterns typically contain flaws that are magnifications of the flaws that were in the pattern of the original. But, that is in the material world; we live in another world wherein the Original is the Spirit Who uses patterns to make patterns but is ever present to empower the patterns of the patterns to be equal to, or even superior to, the pattern of which they are a copy.
- II. Having Received the Message.
- A. Herein is the base-line area of mimicry: the attitude one exercises toward the Word.
- B. Both the Word and the heirs of Life are complexities of great magnitude so that one cannot make blanket specifications regarding mimicry except at a very basic level.
- 1. The complexities mean a plethora of specific actions that run a gamut of inestimable variety.
- 2. The one thing that undergirds all else is how one reacts to "the Word".
- a. There are only two possible reactions: reception/rejection.
- b. Both "the Lord" and "the apostles" had "received the Word".
- c. Now, the Thessalonians were among that same crowd.
- III. In Much Tribulation With Joy of the Holy Spirit.
- A. Tribulation is an on-again, off-again, reality depending upon many factors, but it is always a lurking presence if not an overt reality.
- B. In any case, at some point the practice of the Word will bring difficulties and then the test of the mettle of the nature of the "reception" brings reality to visibility.
- C. Where there is "joy of the Holy Spirit", the presence of much tribulation is simply an addendum, not a major problem. Where there is no such joy, there will be no such "imitation".
- 1. And herein is the "problem": what does a person do who sees no "joy" in what the Word says?
- a. The answer to this "problem" is the concept of "much assurance because of the demonstration of the Truth that was bleeding out of the apostles whose ministry was steeped in joy.
- b. The lingering issue, though, is the thought process that says, "that may work for you, but how do I know it will for me?".
- 2. The "joy" is of the Holy Spirit (as, by the way, is the impetus for the "reception" of the Word).
- a. The only way to "joy" is "yielding to the truth made obvious".
- b. Sometimes this "yielding" is in spite of what "appears".
- c. Whether, however, one "yields" with understanding of the joy to come, or one "yields" in trepidation, the result is "joy of the Holy Spirit". It is His "job" to produce His "fruit" in the hearts/minds of those who "yield" to the Truth, and He is no slacker.